Transferable class 1 and 2 integrons in Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica isolates of human and animal origin in Lithuania

Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2010 Oct;7(10):1185-92. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2010.0536.


Antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli (n = 191) and Salmonella enterica (n = 87) isolates of human and animal origin obtained in Lithuania during 2005-2008 were characterized for the presence and diversity of class 1 and 2 integrons. E. coli isolates were obtained from patients with urinary tract infections (UTIs) (n = 59) and both healthy and diseased farm animals, including poultry (n = 54), swine (n = 35), and cattle (n = 43). Isolates of non-typhoidal S. enterica were recovered from salmonellosis patients (n = 37) and healthy animals, including poultry (n = 31) and swine (n = 19). The presence of integrons, their gene cassette structure, and genome location were investigated by polymerase chain reaction, restriction fragment-length polymorphism, DNA sequencing, Southern blot hybridization, and conjugation experiments. Forty percent of the E. coli and 11% of the S. enterica isolates carried class 1 integrons, whereas class 2 integrons were found in E. coli isolates (9%) only. The incidence of integrons in human UTIs and cattle isolates was most frequent (p < 0.01). A total of 23 different gene cassettes within 15 different variable regions were observed. Seven different integron types, all of them transferable by conjugation, were common for isolates from human infections and for one or more groups of animal isolates. The most prevalent integron types contained arrays dfrA1-aadA1 (36%), dfrA17-aadA5 (23%), and dfrA1-sat1-aadA1 (78%). Two E. coli isolates from humans with UTIs harbored class 1 integron on conjugative plasmid with the novel array type of 4800 bp/dfrA17-aadA5Δ-IS26-ΔintI1-aadB-aadA1-cmlA residing on the Tn21-like transposon. Three S. enterica isolates from swine contained class 1 integron with the newly observed array type of 1800 bp/aadA7-aadA7. Integrons of 10 different types of both classes were located on transferable plasmids in E. coli and S. enterica. Our study demonstrated the existence of a considerable and common pool of transferable integrons in E. coli and S. enterica present in clinical and livestock environment in Lithuania.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Bacterial Infections / veterinary
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Cattle / microbiology
  • Conjugation, Genetic / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Integrons / genetics*
  • Lithuania
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Poultry / microbiology
  • Salmonella Infections / microbiology
  • Salmonella enterica / genetics*
  • Salmonella enterica / isolation & purification
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Swine / microbiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / microbiology


  • DNA, Bacterial